A man who escaped capture for more than 20 years for his role in the rape and murder of a woman in Balboa Park will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Eddie Montanez was with his brother Steve and two other men when the group attacked and raped Dodie Attig in a secluded section of the park on June 19, 1986.
For more than two decades the case remained unsolved until 2007 when DNA evidence led to one of the suspects, Richard Archuletta. Riverside County brothers Steve and Eddie Montanez were also connected to the crime along with the other teenager Eddie Cabanyog.
The group of attackers tied up Dodie's friends and robbed them. The attackers then raped Dodie and despite her pleas to live for her six children, Steve Montanez shot her once in the head, killing her.
In July, jurors convicted the Montanez brothers of rape, robbery and murder. The other two suspects are currently in prison.
Inside the county courthouse downtown Friday morning, Eddie Montanez sat without his brother, listening as Attig’s daughter addressed the court during his sentencing.
“Twenty-four years, these guys lived free. I suffered every June,” Attig’s daughter Jamie Lynn told the court.
Lynn recalled seeing photographs of her mother’s body and reliving the details of her death.
“No matter how much they hurt her, humiliated her. She didn’t struggle,” Lynn said. “She didn’t deserve to die that night.”
She also described how she and Attig’s other children, including her sisters Jenny and Lisa, have paid the price for not having a mother while growing up.
“She missed all of her kids growing up into adults,” she said. “Becoming good human beings, good mothers, in spite of it all.”
Eddie Montanez's attorney declined to comment after the verdict and after sentencing but has said they plan to file an appeal.
For prosecutor Jill Schall, the capture and conviction of the Montanez brothers is a testament to the commitment made by the San Diego police department and district attorney’s office to solve cold cases.
In the Montanez case, that commitment led to justice in Schall’s eyes.
“We feel confident with this type of crime, he’ll never see the light of day,” Schall said.